Japan will allow gene-edited foodstuffs to be sold to consumers without safety evaluations as long as the techniques involved meet certain criteria, if recommendations agreed on by an advisory panel yesterday are adopted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This would open the door to using CRISPR and other techniques on plants and animals intended for human consumption in the country.
Plants don’t need noses to smell. The ability is in their genes. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have discovered the first steps of how information from odor molecules changes gene expression in plants. Manipulating plants’ odor detection systems may lead to new ways of influencing plant behavior.
A health ministry panel said Wednesday that most of the foods currently under development using genome editing can be marketed without safety screening by the state, a proposal that would accelerate the creation of such items as more nutritious tomatoes and more meaty red seabream in Japan.
Scientists in Japan have genetically modified chickens to lay eggs containing an extremely valuable protein that helps treat cancer, hepatitis and multiple sclerosis in humans.
An expert panel of the Environment Ministry started discussions Tuesday on issues related to genome editing technology, including the range of regulations that should apply to its use in food.
There may be concerns with genetically modified organisms (GMO), but the effectiveness of gene editing in developing more productive plants and animals for the agriculture industry can not be argued. With the rise of cheap and simple gene editing technologies, more and more breeds of animals and plants are being bred and raised with edited genetic code.
The Consumer Affairs Agency’s expert committee is expected to conclude its review of Japan’s
labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods at the end of March 2018. As a part of the
ongoing review, informal discussions have begun on a possible stricter threshold for the use of
voluntary “non-GE” labeling. However, some participating expert members have expressed concern
that foreign grain and oilseed supplies could be disrupted by a new, stricter standard. The concept of
tighter requirements for “non-GE” labeling is expected to be the focus of the next (and likely final)
expert committee meeting. Read more